Eating and drinking are two of the Parisian's favourite ways to spend time and dining out in the city hasn't lost its verve, quite the contrary. With a new restaurant opening everyday it seems, the foodie scene is picking up momentum. If you're at a loss for where to eat out while in the city, then try one of these three locals'-favourite hangouts for a great all-round experience.
Victoria 1836: a timeless brasserie with a view
In 1836 the last brick of the Arc de Triomphe was put in place. Over the road, the hotel particulier, with its Greek-inspired frescoes adorning its Haussmannien façade, was named accordingly: le restaurant de L'Arc. Following a fire in 2013, the MOMA Group's Benjamin Patou commissioned work to completely overhaul the already well-liked Parisian venue.
Two years down the line, the restaurant reopened with hit French designer Sarah Lavoine behind its clean, blue and white interior, a staff devoted to upholding the values of Parisian luxury and former Yannick Alléno hand, Alexandre Auger holding the reins in the kitchen. Downstairs is the much talked-about club designed by Lenny Kravitz, where the likes of Mick Jagger have been spotted having a drink or two.
Victoria 1836 © Nicolas Matheus
Open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, afternoon tea and late-night drinks, Victoria has stamina. Bright and light in the day time: guests will love the Arc de Triomphe vistas that appear through the brasserie's floor-to-ceiling French windows, as well as the steady buzz of ladies at lunch and businesspeople in rather relaxed looking meetings.
While everything on the French-inspired menu looked fantastic, we let ourselves be tempted by the tangy melt-in-the-mouth sea bream ceviche and beef (of the pièce précieuse choices) that cuts like butter. Just steps from the Champs Elysées, Victoria 1836 is a great address to keep up your sleeve for a spot of meticulously prepared and yet casual lunch in comfortable surroundings that could be the adjoining lounge of a five-star palace hotel. www.victoria-1836.com
Hexagone: a cosy spot full of quirky glamour
Tucked away among the busy shops, cafés and restaurants of rue Kléber, this stylish spot is not one to miss. Designed by French duo Patrick Gilles et Dorothée Boissier (also behind just-opened Baccarat Hotel in New York and the soon-to-come Mandarin Oriental Marrakech), the hand-painted black and white tattoo style frescoes by artists Alex and Marine and the sleek mix of materials have succeed in creating a tasteful and chic space without so much as a hint of arrogance.
The innovative Lewis Carroll meets prohibition era design aside, the fare prepared by Matthieu Pacaud, previously at L'Ambroiserie, is also worth noting. The menu honours French fundamental savoir-faire that for the chef, have been sitting on the backbench for too long.
Choose your starter, mains and dessert according to a cooking ritual, 'Barigoule', 'Marjolaine', 'Marquise'...and then according to the concise but precise descriptions of each dish. We went with the tempura langoustines to start, the Viennoise Sole with snacked asparagus and morilles mushrooms, and the fraises des bois (wild strawberries) to finish – and with 40 wines served by the glass, it's a great place to explore the wine list while remaining perfectly dignified throughout. New to the recently opened space is also a VIP dining room, its door hidden among the arty wall frescoes. www.hexagone-paris.fr
Ellsworth: compact but tasty
Sunday brunch at Ellsworth: buckwheat waffle, seared foie gras, bourbon maple syrup and apple compote © Instagram/Ellsworth
To the back of the secluded Jardins du Palais Royal is the brand-new Ellsworth, sister restaurant to the legendary Verjus just a few doors up. More contemporary in its décor than romantic Verjus, the young, bi-lingual staff put diners at ease right away. Kitted out with timber floors and interiors mirrored windows, the restaurant and wine bar has an airy Scandinavian style, while the marble tables and mahogany bistro chairs add a French brasserie accent.
Verjus fans will be happy to hear that the menu at Ellsworth includes Verjus' popular crispy fried chicken as well as beautifully presented fresh food like veal tartare and ceviche. While all the fare is very flavoursome, the dishes honour the small plates trend in Paris, meaning that hungry diners have to order at least three plates per person with a healthy helping of bread. Ellsworth also has a Sunday brunch of seasonal, light dishes worth checking out if in the area. www.ellsworthparis.com